Free Software in Europe please

It’s an exciting day with respect to the Oracle/Sun acquisition and the EU investigation. Eblen Mogden, on his blog represents his evidence, which says better than I can, why forcing Oracle to de-merge or re-licence MySQL is against the public interest.

…prohibition of this transaction unless Oracle either divests itself of MySQL or changes its license away from GPL would have very bad public policy consequences. For the Commission to hold that GPL cannot secure competition … would undermine the free software production and distribution system in which the Commission and the European economies have a strong interest.

He further argues in the same paragraph,

This is … equivalent to prohibiting a company in strong competitive position from freeing its own software, which not only turns the principles of competition law on their head, but would be profoundly injurious to all social and economic entrepreneurialism in free and open source software. … To prevent market-leading companies that want to put software under GPL from doing so is neither ethical nor prudent public policy, for reasons that are apparent once one rises above the level of individual transaction details.

I have deleted some of his words to reinforce my learning from his text. Its worth reading his article as a whole because he shows brilliantly in my opinion the public and general interest, and the way the public interest should and shouldn’t be applied to this specific transaction.

The Commission, if it gets this wrong has the potential to damage the whole open source supply market, its too important to get wrong.

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